Malaysian director Jin Ong's 'Abang Adik' wins two prestigious awards at Swiss film festival
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — It’s his first win at an international film festival and Malaysian director and producer Jin Ong is understandably, over the moon.
"I feel very honoured to receive the awards and I’m so glad I could bring a Malaysian film to share with them,” said Ong, whose full name is Ong Lay Jin.
His first feature film, Abang Adik won two awards at the recently held 37th Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF) — the Audience Award and the Ecumenical Jury Award.
Both awards are huge accomplishments as the former is granted to the film that is best received by the audience while the latter is given by a panel of juries.
The winning film about two brothers against the world has been described by FIFF, one of Switzerland’s most established film festivals, as a poignant tale that lingers on after the credits roll.
It stars Malaysian actor Jack Tan and Taiwanese actor Wu Kang Ren as brothers and marks Angelica Lee’s debut as a producer.
As a new director, Taiping-born Ong confessed that he didn’t have much confidence initially.
For him, an international film festival simply meant an opportunity to learn and make new friends.
This year, he noted there were several outstanding entries, particularly from Iran and Japan.
"I’m glad I met directors as well,” Ong told Malay Mail.
"It was a great moment for us to exchange ideas," he added.
'Abang Adik' stars Malaysian actor Jack Tan and Taiwanese actor Wu Kang Ren as brothers. — Picture via Instagram/fiffribourg
Ong, 48, has produced several films since 2014 including Shuttle Life, The Gathering, In My Heart, Miss Andy and The Paradise.
With Abang Adik, he hopes to bring the issue of statelessness to the fore.
"Its ultimate appeal is the love hidden in the hearts of the two brothers.
"Although society treats them differently, love gives them the will to survive,” said Ong.
Set in present-day Malaysia, the movie follows brothers Abang and Adi.
Abang, the older brother, is hearing- and speech-impaired and has resigned himself to a life of poverty.
His younger brother, Adi, refuses to accept that fate and fights it with anger in his heart.
Following a brutal accident that upsets the balance of their fragile relationship, the two learn to fend for one another against the harsh realities of the world.